Desperation and anger in Louisiana after Hurricane Ida

Posted on Monday, August 30, 2021 at 10:39 PM

Collapsing ceiling, smashed garage door, inverted basketball hoop: Lxchelle Arceneaux desperately watches Monday the chaos that Hurricane Ida wreaked overnight at his home in Laplace Township, western New Orleans.

“My children were terrified,” said the 46-year-old, dressed in blue on her doorstep. “I’ve never heard a wind blow like this before.”

Mrs. Arsinoe had taken refuge with her husband and children in her bedroom when the force of the wind smashed a window that had been fortified as possible with a plank of wood and duct tape.

“Water started leaking from the roof. The sirens started roaring,” she continued, explaining that she tried to clear the rain with buckets. “We didn’t have enough containers,” she adds, her voice drowning out the noise of generators, and power outages for the entire city.

At about 7:30 p.m. on Sunday, part of his roof receded, torrential rain fell on his living room, and moisture bubbles were still visible on Monday on his white wallpaper.

– indignation –

Lxchelle Arceneaux is outraged by the authorities who, according to them, did not provide enough information on the path of the hurricane and the danger facing this city of 30,000, located on the east bank of the Mississippi River between New-Orléans and the. The capital of Louisiana is Baton Rouge.

“We knew there was a hurricane but the eye of the storm hadn’t moved towards us,” she explains indignantly. “We only received the flood warning when the cyclone was already there,” she accuses.

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The parish of St. John the Baptist (the county equivalent of Louisiana) issued voluntary and non-mandatory evacuation orders before the arrival of Hurricane Ida, which hit the area with gusts of more than 240 km/h.

“I would have really preferred to evacuate and not live this experience,” says Ms. Arceneaux, who wears rainbow sandals on her feet.

Surprised by her neighbor Carlo Barber, 22, Ida flooded her house with 12 cm of water, threw tiles all over her garden and destroyed her fence.

“When the house got wet, I got in my car and spent the night in the parking lot at Home Depot,” the popular American DIY store, details the young-faced blond student.

“It was worse than I could have imagined,” he recalls. “When Hurricane Isaac passed last year, we had no water in the house.” “We weren’t ready for Ida but next time we will be.”

– submerged city –

Many of Laplace’s roads were still under water on Monday, or were blocked by high-voltage lines, trees and smashed power poles.

“We’ve saved more than a hundred lives,” said Jonathan Walker of the St. John Sheriff’s Department, who is riding around town in the back of an army truck.

Among the survivors is Anderson Martinez, 17, who escaped from a US National Guard helicopter that had just landed in the parking lot of a shopping district with about a dozen people on board, including three young children.

Her 14-year-old brother Anderson and their mother took refuge in a city hotel while Ida was passing by. But when they wanted to leave their temporary accommodation, the waters around them were surrounded by water, which made crossing impossible.

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“The water has reached at least two metres,” he says as he pushes a cart where all his things are stored in plastic bags.

The teen is now trying to get home at all costs, a 10-minute drive away, to see if she’s still awake.

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